Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Why I didn’t buy my dream home

You know when you have an idea of your perfect home in your mind – go on, picture yours now… You’d hope to one day be able to buy that house and move in with a perfect blush pink sofa and two fluffy cats, right? Or maybe that’s just me. But anyway, you know what style you like, the type of building you’d choose and the location you’d love. So why, when I was searching for a property to buy, didn’t I buy my dream house?

The dream cottage from House and Garden

It’s not as simple as ‘I couldn’t afford dolls-house-esque Georgian mansion I wanted”. I found plenty of beautiful homes within my budget (though I wanted to get a good deal, naturally – I’m a thrifty gal after all) but none of them quite came up to scratch. I wasn’t being picky – they we’re all homes that only two years ago I could never have dreamed of owning – but for a whole year, every house I viewed or came close to buying ended up not being ‘the one’. Here’s why:

It was too small. I quickly found out that the trouble with picturesque cottages is that they’re too small. I’ve stayed in SO many lovely holiday homes that are small but perfect-formed, so I thought that this was the style of house I wanted to buy. But when I started looking at them with the reality of actually living there, I realised it would be a struggle. The rooms in cottages are so cosy, but tiny. Even the windows were too small, meaning that most rooms were dark even in the midday sun – no good for a full-time blogger, eh?! I can’t even remember how many times my husband banged his head on the low beams! Sorry quaint holiday cottage, you’re not the house for me.

Beautiful home and garden by photographer Rachel Warne

The road was too close. A couple of the perfect cottages we looked at were just too close to the road. Some were main ‘A’ roads, while others were tiny village roads. Either way, the proximity of the road always seemed to cause a problem. It could be that there was no nearby parking, it was sometimes a noisy truck-route and in other places it was difficult to even get out of the driveway onto the main road. Sorry ‘excellent road links’ house, I won’t be parking in front of you.

It was listed. And even though this means the building is packed full of beautiful original features, gorgeous inglenook fireplaces and beamed ceilings, I didn’t want to take on this responsibility. As you know, I like to do a lot of DIY work myself and I couldn’t imagine being restricted by the listing requirements. The listings often covered things like the colour of the front door (that’s conservation areas for ya!), the style of windows (cold non-double glazed, for a start) and the roof tiles. Considering that I love to learn new skills and DIY as I go, it seemed unlikely that I’d want to stick to the listing restrictions and keep things exactly as they are. Sorry ancient house, you’re no home of mine.

The dream garden from Sequin Gardens

There was no garden. Okay, not true – they all had gardens. But the trouble was the tiny size of the garden. Or the overlooked nature of the garden. Or the neighbour who was sitting in their garden, which backed onto our kitchen window. Odd configurations of the plot was a big factor in the decision not to buy most of the houses we saw. Considering that we like to work in our garden and host gatherings around a BBQ it was important that we had a usable outdoor space. And even the most perfect ‘how does your garden grow’ plots were too small to put up a shed. Having space to build a workshop was one of our ‘essentials’ so that my artist husband and I can work together, so if there was no room for a sizable shed, we walked away. Sorry cottage garden, I won’t be mowing your lawn.

The good news is that, in the end, I actually DID buy my dream home. I just didn’t know that this house was what I was looking for when I started my property search. It’s about twice the size of any other houses we saw and has a garden that we can grow into. We can park easily and the no-through road rarely sees any traffic. Other houses in the area have been altered and updated without any problems with planning and I love that I can DIY everything myself. Hi happy home, I think I’d like to move in.

The moral of my story is to keep an open mind when house-hunting. After countless viewings, I said to my husband “let’s just look at ANYTHING within our budget” even if it doesn’t seem right. The very next day a square 1950s house came onto the market and I booked a viewing with this new ethos in mind. I very nearly cancelled that appointment a few times because I was sure this house wasn’t the right one for us. But when we arrived at the quiet location and walked up the long garden into a house with more rooms than we knew what to do with, I was so pleased that we’d given it a chance.

Good luck with your house hunting guys!


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Create a country cottage bedroom without breaking the bank

There’s no place more homely than a country cottage. A warm, crackling fire, soft sofas, refreshing scenes of nature all around you – it’s the perfect relaxing getaway. But what if you could have that snuggly cottage feeling all the time? Here are a few simple and easy ways to create the feeling of a country cottage in your very own bedroom, without breaking the bank.

Keep it Cosy
Fabrics are essential for a country cottage feel. Pick light colours and when in doubt, go for floral patterns. Even though some vintage fabrics can be pricey, they pack punch when it comes to design. To buy cheap, look out for damaged or stained materials that can be cut and shaped to what you need. You can never have too many cushions so consider buying curtain panels which should be able to make around three 20-inch pillows. You can even add cheaper coordinating fabric on the back to cut costs. Don’t forget a draped bed
skirt
 to add the essential cottage finish.

DIY country floral bedroom ideas from House to Home

Floral bedroom ideas from House to Home

Reuse Old Glass
Start collecting all those perfume bottles and jars that you’re done with. If you don’t go through many glass items you can buy them cheaply and in bulk either online or at car boot sales and thrift stores. You can use old glass containers for flower vases, sweets and treats or even shells and forest findings that bring nature indoors. By personalising and displaying these charming and handy pieces, you’ll add that personal, homely touch to the room.

DIY ideas for glass vase & perfume bottle display in country cottage room

Pretty glass display via Pinterest

Natural Style Wood
When it comes to furniture in a country cottage bedroom, stick to wood as your first choice. This can either be reclaimed wooden furniture or investment in a lasting solid oak piece that will be worth the initial price in the long run. You can easily personalise and dress up the items by adding your own customised knobs onto doors and drawers. Look out for quirky, vintage knobs at flea markets and thrift shops to fit onto your own furniture.

DIY furniture makeover tutorial for country cottage design - chest of drawers

Add country cottage style to drawers with new handles

Gingham and Buttons All the Way
Get crafty and upcycle boring cushions and lamps with essential country cottage trimmings. Gingham and buttons are fail-safe decorative elements that you can sew or glue onto the body of cushions or trim the edges of lampshades with. It’s a good idea to stick to a particular colour scheme that suits your bed covers and curtain material. Pastel shades of light blue or yellow work well but the pop of traditional red and white gingham can also work too, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

ideas for a gingham country cottage interior design from Country Living

Gingham accents from Country Living

Check out ideas online for the many kinds of country cottage bedroom designs and you’ll probably be spoilt for choice. Be sure to whittle down a clear theme that you would like to create and get thrifty to make your bedroom a cosy place of comfort that you’ll always enjoy. Please check out my series of blog posts on my very own bedroom makeover and check back for more updates soon.

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